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U.S: Iran Must Satisfy IAEA's Nuclear Concerns


State's Reeker Says Iran Must Satisfy IAEA's Nuclear Concerns

Warns Russia and others against cooperating with Iran

The United States says no country should engage in nuclear cooperation with Iran until Iran has fully answered the questions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about its nuclear programs and fully addressed the concerns of the international community.

Speaking at the August 27 State Department press briefing, State Department Deputy Spokesman Philip Reeker said that Iran's nuclear ambitions "present a serious challenge to the entire international community, and specifically to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the international nuclear nonproliferation regime, which is based on the Nonproliferation Treaty."

Reeker was asked about press reports that Russia had agreed to send nuclear fuel to Iran's Bushehr reactor. In response, the spokesman said that no country, including Russia, should cooperate with Iran "until Iran satisfies the IAEA's questions and fully addresses the concerns of the international community, including full, immediate, unconditional implementation of the additional protocol, to the Nonproliferation Treaty."

He added that the United States is reviewing the IAEA's report on the matter and is looking forward to discussing it at a September 8 meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna.

Following is an excerpt from the August 27 State Department briefing:

(begin excerpt)

QUESTION: Can we talk a little bit about Iran?

MR. REEKER: Sure.

QUESTION: Given that this new IAEA report is out there now, there was a -- there have been reports out of Moscow today that the Iranians are prepared to sign an agreement with the Russians, and that the Russians are -- you know that, to send waste back to Russia -- and that this would clear the way for the Russians soon to provide fuel for Bushehr. Is that -- what do you think about that?

Do you think that -- especially since Under Secretary Bolton has just been in Moscow -- is that your understanding of the way things go -- are going? Are you concerned?

Do you still believe that the Russians are going to send that fuel soon to Bushehr?

MR. REEKER: A number of those questions are obviously things you need to ask the Russians. I am not going to try to speak for them or characterize them. Let's just --

QUESTION: But Bolton was just there.

MR. REEKER: Let's just, yeah, let's start with that, since Bolton was just there.

We talked a bit about that yesterday. Under Secretary Bolton, in fact, yesterday, Tuesday, was in Paris, where he met with French Deputy Secretary General for Political and Security Affairs Stanislas Lefevre de Laboulaye to discuss a wide range of nonproliferation issues that included discussions in advance of the September 8th meeting of the Board of Governors of the IAEA that will take place in Geneva. That will address concerns -- sorry. Pardon me, Vienna, yeah -- that will address concerns about the Iranian nuclear program. They also had the opportunity to discuss North Korea and the Proliferation Security Initiative.

Today Under Secretary Bolton is in Rome for discussions with Italian officials. He had met Monday, as we discussed yesterday, with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Kislyak to address a wide range of nonproliferation issues with them as well.

It is really the latest in a series of ongoing discussions with the Russians about that. One of the subjects, obviously, is the issue of Iran and our concerns about that. He also met, I think I mentioned it yesterday, with the Russian Minister of Atomic Energy, Rumyantsev, and the purpose was, again, to consult with the Russians prior to the September 8th meeting in Vienna.

So I guess, then, to step to the next part of your question, we clearly have concerns about Iran, about their nuclear programs. There's nothing new in that. We have made that quite clear. In terms of the IAEA, the Director General's report on Iran's nuclear program has been circulated to the 35 members of the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors. It has not yet been released to the public, and even though you all think you have copies of the authentic text, I am just not in a position to really comment on it or discuss anything that is purported to be in the report. We do find Iran's nuclear activities troubling. We have talked about that for some time

We think that Iran's nuclear ambitions prevent -- present a serious challenge to the entire international community, and specifically to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the international nuclear nonproliferation regime, which is based on the Nonproliferation Treaty.

And so we have been looking forward, as we review the report, to discussing it September 8th, in Vienna, and to meeting with the other IAEA board members, and to coordinate an appropriately strong response to the report. But I am not going to try to shadow or preview that now.

We have steadfastly supported the IAEA effort to bring about the facts of Iran's nuclear program, to bring those facts to light. And until Iran has fully satisfied IAEA's questions and fully addressed the concerns of the international community, including a full, immediate and unconditional implementation of the additional protocol, which we have discussed before, then we believe that no country should be engaging in nuclear cooperation with Iran, and that is the view that we expressed to Russia as well.

A follow-up?

QUESTION: Can I just finish, because my question was actually a little more specific than that.

The fact that the Russians are saying today that Iran has agreed to sign this agreement under which they would commit to send this nuclear waste back to Moscow or back to Russia, therefore clearing the way for the Russians to continue cooperation with Iran and, in fact, to go and give them the spent fuel they need to start up Bushehr, did Under Secretary Bolton get any commitments? How do you view those reports? Do you find them accurate? Do they comport with what --

MR. REEKER: I can't -- okay. I think I answered at least half of that question. In terms of finding them accurate, I've seen the reports, you'd have to ask the Russians. I can't comment on Russians or commitments that Iran has reported to have made to Russia.

In terms of our views of the overall situation, as I just said, until Iran satisfies the IAEA's questions and fully addresses the concerns of the international community, including full, immediate, unconditional implementation of the additional protocol, to the Nonproliferation Treaty, we believe that no country should be engaging with Iran in nuclear cooperation, and that would include Russia.

So that is our concern. Iran has an opportunity to address these concerns, and it is obviously a subject we will discuss in Vienna when the Board of Governors meets.


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